Youth bowlers prepare for national tournament

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Nine bowlers from the Capital City will compete in the sport’s biggest stage next week.

It’s pretty awesome to just showcase yourself nationally instead of just statewide,” Washburn Rural junior Trent Baumgartner said.

The Junior Golds are a chance to make the Junior Team USA and earn scholarship money for college.

“It’s a rush,” Newman sophomore Trevor Baumgartner said. “Every single year it’s something different. You have to face something different every year, and I mean I love it.”

“It’s awesome to go compete,” Newman sophomore Britni Thoman said. “It feels awesome when you win. It’s a part of my life, and I don’t know if I could ever go without it.”

The guys and girls are some of Topeka’s best bowlers, but it will be an entirely different story when they hit the lanes at the World Gold Youth Championships in Detroit, Michigan.

“It’s my first time, so I’m pretty nervous because I just don’t know what to expect,” Shawnee Heights 8th grader Nathan Mercer said. “It’s just very nerve-wracking.”

“They say it’s a lot of pressure up there,” Washburn Rural junior Cory Clausing said. “There’s going to be like 2,000 people up there, and I don’t know. It’ll be fun.”

“I’ve personally thrown it in the gutter a few times when I’ve gotten nervous on a big shot,” Central Missouri sophomore Kristy Renyer.

A couple bowlers who’ve been there before say it’s just about keeping those nerves in check.

“I think the main thing is, instead of thinking about bowling your best, and trying to do your best, just go out there and do it,” Trevor Baumgartner said. “I mean just let it happen.”

“I’m real calm, as I should say,” Shawnee Heights 8th grader Brayden Prockish said. “I don’t get overexcited. If you’re right on it the whole time, you’re going to strike. I guarantee it.”

“It’s going to take more than just mental game and preparation,” Newman freshman Hunter Weeks said. “You’re going to have to be on your game for this. So it’s going to be the biggest competition we look forward to.”

At the Junior Golds these nine bowlers are banking on getting that last pin to fall.

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